Saturday, 14 February 2015

BenQ W1070+

BenQ W1070+

A budget beamer you can’t afford... to ignore

Not too long ago, a projector of any kind was a luxury most of us could ill afford. And even if we could afford it, we couldn’t really justify it. Not when the dingy beamers of yesteryear were so useless during the day and when anything even half cinematic in terms of image quality cost thousands. If that’s roughly where your thinking still is with projectors, may we suggest you take a quick look at the BenQ W1070+. It’ll throttle such misconceptions with the nearest HDMI cable to hand. It really is awfully impressive and utterly cinematic, especially for the money.

Right out of the box this thing is spectacular. The default settings are bang on the money, which we think is important for a projector at this end of the market, often bought by first timers looking at home cinema. The image is bright and oh-so-clean. Focus across the image is flawless and the black levels are as good as you’d hope for a DLP effort rated at 10,000 to one for static contrast. Okay, there actually are projectors with even better blacks, but not at this price. The W1070+ nails darker tones as well as a projector costing thousands of pounds from just a few years ago.

Both the black and white scales are hard to argue with at default settings too, with little to no evidence of compression. Yippee. Overall, it’s just one hell of a punchy, vibrant, full-1080p projector. And did we mention how affordable it is?

While we’re singing the W1070+’s praises, the optional wireless HDMI kit is nice, too. It’s based on adaptor boxes at both the source and receiver end of the equation, which is handy if you want to use it part time with a different display of some type. It also comes with a nifty little remote control for switching sources. Nice. The whole shebang is 3D-ready as well, though doesn’t come with glasses in the price. But then there’s only so much you can expect for the money.

BenQ W1070+ ports

If that’s a healthy retinue of reasons why the W1070+ is a winner, here come some areas where it’s not so wonderful. For starters, it’s all built into a small, cheap box. That may be handy for tight spaces, but it certainly makes for a rowdy little projector in terms of noise. You’re also not going to get decent optics in this class of device. Okay, the geometry is actually spot on. But there’s no lens shift, so positioning is key to achieving a good image. As it happens, that’s not necessarily going to be easy given yet another drawback of the cheap optics, namely a limited zoom range. It means you have to position the projector in quite a specific location to achieve a given size and location of image. Flexible the W1070+ most certainly is not.

Like pretty much any DLP at this end of the market, the dreaded rainbow effect makes an appearance here. As ever, it’s one of those things that some notice more than others. If it’s a major issue for you, the W1070+ may not be the best choice. Oh, and the one-year or 1,000-hour lamp warranty is pretty stingy too.

That said, we’re willing to forgive the W1070+ quite a lot given its tempting price point. It would simply be unrealistic to expect a full-feature, 1080p DLP beamer in a box big enough for near-silent cooling and complete with lens shift and wide-range zoom. But what you do get is seriously snazzy image quality that will blow any HDTV clean out of your living room. Even at this low price, we’ll happily admit that a projector isn’t going to be an automatic purchase, but it is one we think you can’t afford to not even try. And this BenQ wouldn’t be a bad place to start experimenting at all. – Jeremy Laird

Projector type Single-chip DLP
Native resolution 1920 x 1080
Brightness 2,200 lumens
Contrast 10,000:1 (static)
Projection ratio 2.59 - 2.87:1
Inputs 2x HDMI, component, composite, MHL
Wireless connectivity Wireless Full HD Kit is optional (£235)
Projector warranty Two years (one year or 1,000 hours for lamp)